The Louisa County Industrial Development Authority recently acquired the 807-acre Cooke Rail Park property for a sum of $7.26 million from Rail Park LLC. The debt will be paid as the land is sold over the next 20 years at the rate of $9,000 an acre and will involve no taxpayer funds as development occurs.
“The county asked the Cooke Foundation to create this large parcel several years ago and the county economic development office has been marketing the land since the beginning,” said Bernie Estes, IDA chairman. “This is one of the few properties on the East Coast of this size with such large parcels available.”
Over the years there has been some interest in the property, located between Chalklevel and Chopping roads off of Davis Highway, but none of the parcels have been sold yet. There are no plans to pre-develop the property, but access to gas, water, sewer and the railroad line exists and will be installed as the land is sold.
The sale arrangement is set up similar to the one the IDA has with the Louisa Library Foundation, in which the money is paid to Rail Park LLC as the land is sold. The parcels will be completely seller financed, and the agreement required no IDA or county money up front to acquire the land.
“The land is now public property and takes one interested person from the table than if it were private property,” Estes said. “The land is IDA owned and the county’s economic development office will continue to market the tract. It will be easier for Andy [Wade, economic development director] to negotiate with a potential business if the property is owned by a public body since a public body is not motivated by profit. That can be more attractive to an outside business.”
To read the entire story, see the Aug. 7 edition of The Central Virginian.